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Abdullah bin Zayed attends Midnight Mass in Bethlehem

posted on 27/12/2008: 753 views

Jerusalem - Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, joined Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Sallam Fayyad, to attend the Midnight Mass at the Church of Nativity here in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, to mark the Christmas for all the various Christian denominations.

The Midnight Mass was also attended by a large number of dignitaries, including senior officials of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), Palestinian ministers and officials, and members of the diplomatic and consular corps at the Palestinian National Authority.

The Christmas Midnight Mass was led by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, who, in his sermon, warmly welcomed all the guests, the pilgrims, President Abbas and Sheikh Abdullah, wishing them Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with peace, stability and safety for all.

He said peace is a right for all peoples of the world and is the best solution for all disputes and conflicts. "...War never leads to peace nor do prisons bring stability. No matter how long the wall, it can never ensure safety... Neither the victorious invader nor the vanquished struggler in the Holy Land shall enjoy peace..., because peace is a gift from God and it is only God who grants peace," he stated in the sermon.

He pointed out that the Palestinian people "need calm, need quietness, need peace and need childhood" and prayed to God to let tolerance flourish among nations, individuals and families.

Sheikh Abdullah last night joined President Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials in a Christmas dinner held at the Franciscan. "I wish to congratulate you all on this happy occasion. I wish you Merry Christmas. We are happy to have in our midst a guest from a generous country, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan," President Abbas said to a toast.

"Our guests are here in their second home, Palestine, the country of Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus Christ, to join us celebrate this happy occasion," he added and prayed to Allah for more of this happy occasion. He also prayed to Allah to grant the country security, peace and stability.

After the dinner, Sheikh Abdullah went to the Nativity Square where a number of foreign bands performed in a colourful ceremony to mark the Christmas and show solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Sheikh Abdullah expressed profound happiness for being part of the occasion . "The UAE government and people are all with the Palestinian people. We support you and Abu Mazin..," he said. "I feel happy to be here in Palestine with our people to celebrate the Christmas," he added.

Sheikh Abdullah was accompanied on the tour by Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, Yasser Abed Rabo and Palestinian businessman, Munib Al-Masry.

Abed Rabo praised the UAE for its continuous support for the Palestinian people and described Sheikh Abdullah's visit as "very important" and that it reflects the fraternal ties between the peoples of the UAE and Palestine. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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